Friday, October 14, 2011
The sweet smell of strawberry jam
I recently wrote about jam making with a friend. She would buy a box of strawberries from a work colleague whose parents owned a strawberry farm just north of Brisbane. She supplied the cheap box of strawberries and I supplied the kitchen, the sugar, the lemons and the recipe.
It was just me and my little helper in the kitchen today. Our strawberries were from our local fruit barn, grown less than a kilometer from where we live.
It was lovely to be making this jam again. In a different time, in a different place, but with the same happiness that can come with jam making.
Here is my recipe.
makes 6 x 400 gram jars
• 2 kilograms strawberries - not over ripe (washed, dried, hulled, halved or quartered)
• juice of 3 lemons
• 1 1/2 kilograms sugar
Put a small saucer in the freezer. Preheat oven to 180 degrees. Wash jam jars in hot water and put into the oven to sterilise. Put the strawberries and lemon juice into a preserving pan or a large heavy based saucepan. Bring to the boil and then reduce the heat. Simmer for 35 minutes.
After 20 minutes of cooking time, measure out the sugar and put into a stainless steel bowl. Put the sugar into the oven to warm. After 10 minutes it should be warm to touch. Watch it closely, you don't want it to start to cook.
Add the sugar to the strawberries and stir until dissolved. Bring the mixture back to the boil. Boil rapidly for 15 minutes, stirring frequently with a wooden spoon.
Test to see if the jam is ready. Take a teaspoonful of the mixture and put on the cold saucer, return it to the freezer to cool for one minute. Take it out and if it wrinkles when you push it with your finger, then it's done. Strawberry jam is unlikely to set very firm, so don't expect the same results as you would with a marmalade.
When the jam is ready, remove from the heat and skim off the pink scum. If you can't get it all, drop a fingernail size piece of butter into the jam and it will dissolve the remainder of the scum.
Remove the jam jars from the oven and pour in the hot jam. I usually ladle my jam into a pouring jug and then pour it into the jars. Hold the hot jars with a tea towel and be careful! Seal immediately and leave to cool before labeling. Store in a cool, dark place.
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